My thirst to sample good coffee around the country was given an unexpected boost yesterday when I was sipping North Star Coffee‘s Ethiopia Aramo in Ramsbottom’s Grind and Tamp (review for this local gem is imminent!). Deep in conversation with the owner, he handed me a book titled The Independent Coffee Guide detailing some of the best places for coffee around the country (note: Grind and Tamp doesn’t appear in the 2016 guide, it opened half way through the year but if my experience is anything to go by it should make 2017’s edition).
The Independent Coffee Guide’s purpose is obvious; to promote both coffee shops and roasteries who provide quality coffee. Although a version of the guide was published detailing venues in the South West of England in 2014, it is only in the last two years that the guide has expanded to include the North West (2015 onwards) and Scotland as recently as 2016.
I was struck, not by the number of venues included in the guide, but by the number of different roasters. Sure enough I have tried many different coffees however I was still amazed when I saw the list. Whilst brewing coffee at home I have sampled coffee from just four different roasteries: York Coffee Emporium, Second City Coffee, North Star and Grind & Tamp’s very own Christmas blend. In hindsight I am a little disappointed I haven’t kept tabs of which roasteries I have tried from coffee outlets too as the number of roasteries in England is far higher than I first anticipated it would be and it would provide an interesting comparison of coffees by roastery.
Looking through the guide there is plenty of scope for some coffee-based adventure. Of 140 coffee shops and roasters featured in the Northern section, I have visited just five of the Manchester based coffee shops. I have some exploring to do.
Of course, there are plenty of good quality coffee shops not listed in the Independent Coffee Guide. My recent review of Foundation Coffee House, my favourite city centre coffee haunt, is an example of one such venue.
However, I now intend to use the guide as a means of discovery to see what the best coffee houses in the north have to offer.
The more I discover, the more I realise I don’t know.